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THE BROADENING OF HUMANISM         211

characteristic of Italian thought over long centuries, which had
been temporarily reconciled with the Christian ethic in the ideal
of the scholar-gentleman, by educators like Vittorino of Feltre.
The change, though important in its outcome, was not really
great. With scholarship turning to pedantry and in danger of
losing its touch with life, the emphasis in the educational ideal
gradually shifted from scholarship to gentlemanliness. The
education that was wanted now by intelligent people was not so
much one that produced scholars who might happen to be fit to
hold their own in affairs, as one that produced capable gentlemen
with the adornment of letters.

The idea of cultured chivalry seems little in advance of that
underlying the practical training for knighthood in the Middle
Ages, and probably if it had stayed at home in Italy it would have
had as little effect on educational progress. But when it crossed
the Alps, first to France and afterwards to England, it revealed
unsuspected implications in its contacts with the native ideals. In
France, where it made rapid headway, in spite of the hostility of
the medievalism entrenched in Paris University and in spite of
the indifference of the noble classes, those who adopted the
Italian modes were forced in self-defence into an attitude of
aggression which tinged all their thoughts about life and culture.
Like the Italian gentlemen whom they sought to imitate, they
gave practical wisdom a prominent place in education, but they
tended to oppose this wisdom to any kind of knowledge more
sharply than their exemplars, even to the point of sometimes
denying any real value to knowledge at all. Still more significant
was the change that came over the Italian esteem for personality
among the French, In Italy it could be taken for granted that a
man should aim at realizing himself in some worthy kind of social
service; in France it was more difficult to make that assumption,
and so the desire for an adequate development of personality was
apt to take the somewhat negative form of a claim for freedom to
follow one's own course both in learning and in life. In England,
where the Italian influence was later in being felt, the reaction
was rather different. Here, too, it excited opposition, but partly
because the Renaissance had already progressed further than in
France, partly because the remoteness of Italy made its ideals
more foreign and its direct example less disturbing, the opposition
took a milder form. The chief immediate effect was to introduce a